The Ordeal of Legendary Oromo Artist, Fayessa Furi

By Zewdu Wege (PhD) | May 14, 2013

The well known and much loved young Oromo artist Fayessa Furi left his beautiful wife and kids behind in the repressive and prison empire of Abyssinia and head to North Africa. He left Oromia a week ago and now he is seeking asylum in one of the North African country.

This gifted and talented young Oromo artist is known not only for his beautiful song but also his courage and bold stand for our just cause and the formation of an independent Oromo state. Through his beautiful voice he touched every thing. He sang about love, poverty, beauty and nature. He also sang about braver Oromo hero/heroines, betrayal and unfaithfulness of OPDO, the crime and genocide committed against the Oromo People and the importance of unity to succeed. Despite TPLF ongoing repression, intimidation and harassment of Oromo people, Fayessa Furi sang all these songs boldly and fiercely without fear. To their shame he did all these in front of them and under their noise. This proved how courageous, strong nationalist and role model he is in our struggle for freedom.

Fayessa is not only a great singer but also he is a great poet. Although he is very young, he is a great teacher and preacher of unity. Through his song he forced us to raise and ask ourselves a number of unsolved and unanswered questions. He called up on all Oromos (the young, adult and the old, our scholars, politicians and elders) to stay united and work hand in hand and march toward our freedom/bilissumma.

Fayessa is loved and popular not only among the Oromos, and those who can listen and understand Affan Oromo, but also among non-Oromos too. He is very much loved and respected artist. Once VOA Affan Oromo program labelled him as “the young Oromo raising star”. Indeed he was. In the music history of Ethiopian Empire, Fayessa’s album was the first to be sold over a million copies, not to mention the illegally copied and sold albums in black market.

He was the victim of his own art work, conscious and beliefs. After he openly criticized the under dog of Meles and TPLF, the OPDOs, he was on hot water and continually harassed, blackmailed and received a number of death threats. He was arrested many times without due legal process or committing any crime/offence. He was not only banned from presenting his work to his fans and supporters in concert and private functions but also banned from travelling overseas to show music concert. He was deprived of his basic right, the right to work and survive. He was told blatantly as they would not let him to work and earn his livelihood unless he works for and with them. They banned his work from the public.

Although he is loved and respected artist and his work was the first to be sold in over a million copies, his work is banned from being seen on the State owned and controlled only TV. They predicted as he will surrender and join them when he finished the money he saved now. Luckily, he decided not to surrender to spy on his own people. Instead he made audacious decision and proved them his word and courage as he won’t bow down for their pressure.

Regional and state OPDO representatives and TPLF security forces approached him a number of times and asked him if he work for them and expose Oromo nationalist and OLF sympathizers, in return they will promote his music work and get what ever he wanted. He refused their offer outright and told them as he prefer to die than to spy on his own people. I better put Fayessa’s own words here “anni ummatta kiyyafi namma du’ufi woregamu malee namma saba kiyya irrati basaasumiti. Dacheen Oromiyaa badhoodha, Osso hin dalagineele Ummani kiyya na jiraachisa jirufi jireenya jeedhee saba kiyya hin basaasu”.  Four hours later after he said this he was kidnapped by security forces and incarcerated in military barrack for over three months. While he was captive, he was subjected to verbal, physical and psychological abuse. He was repeatedly interrogated at gunpoint, asked to tell OLF agent he was working with and why he refused to work with them. Ever since his movement and action including his activity on social media was under close scrutiny and he was forced to live in constant fear and not knowing what will happen to him next.

He was extremely against fleeing Oromia. I remember him once saying “Didda manati dheesan, manaa garam dheesa”. Woyanee is like cancer. They kill Oromo national silently and slowly. The reasons why Woyanee banned his work and his appearance from public sight, was to keep him poor, and to kill him and his lovely kids slowly and silently. That is the true color of TPLF. This was what he told me about his ordeal. It is time Oromo, to step up our effort and maintain our unity and fight for our freedom in unison.

Fayessa is very open, honest and bold. I want to share what he told me about his ordeal and his unwavering stand on woyanee demand to surrender. There are a lot we can learn from this gifted and visionary young artist. I decided to share the below paragraph about his ordeal in his own words:

Ani eessas gahuun natti haahafuu. Yoo shokoraa Nairobiillee ta’ee kahafuu, asumatti diinni natti hin taphatin jechaaf malee jiruu akka hin qabnee beekee jira. Biyya kiyyatti ummata akka nugudsaatti na laalu irratti akka hin dalagne woggaa sadi guutuu dhoorkame. Hanga kana cufa waanuma dura lafaa qabu nyaataa ture. Amma sun dhumuuf kaanaan murteesse.  Ammas waan kanallee saansuur gooti jedhanii waan biraa haataphannuu lafee tiyya. Kanaaf alaamanatti dheessanii, manaa garam dheessan jennee dadhabnne.”

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